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FaceTime Features on Your iPhone 4S

2 of 9 in Series: The Essentials of New Features of the iPhone

FaceTime, Apple’s video calling feature, puts your iPhone 4S in a whole different class when it comes to making phone calls. Plus, FaceTime comes with at least two major benefits, besides the video (which is typically pretty good):

  • FaceTime calls don’t count against your regular minutes.

  • The audio quality on FaceTime calls is superior to a regular cell phone connection.

When you’re FaceTiming, you see the person you’re chatting with, but you also see your own face in a small picture-in-picture (PiP) window, which you can drag to a corner of the screen:

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The PiP image represents what the other person sees, so it’s a good way of knowing, short of the other person telling you, if your face has dropped out of the frame. You can use FaceTime in portrait or landscape mode. You might find it easier to bring another person into a scene in landscape mode.

Although many FaceTime calls start with a regular AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, or C Spire call, you can’t go from FaceTime to an audio-only call without hanging up and redialing. Similarly, if you drop a FaceTime call because of a Wi-Fi hiccup or some other problem, you’ll have to redial via FaceTime or your provider, depending on whether you want the call to be video or only audio.

You have choices in how (and whether) to handle a FaceTime call and what you can do while on a call:

  • Block all FaceTime calls: If you just don’t feel up to being seen while talking, tap Settings from the Home screen, tap Phone, and make sure FaceTime is off. If you can’t find the FaceTime button or wonder why you’re not getting FaceTime calls, go back into Settings and make sure this option is turned on. Although you are in FaceTime Settings, you’ll notice that you can list one or more e-mail addresses by which a caller can reach you for a video call, along with your iPhone’s phone number.

  • Decline FaceTime: Cool as it can be to see and be seen, ask yourself if you really want to be seen, say, when you just got out of bed. If you don’t, just decline the FaceTime aspect of the call.

  • Mute the audio: Tap the microphone icon with the slash running through it. The caller can continue to see you but not hear you.

  • Check out another iPhone app while on a FaceTime call: Simply press the Home button and then tap the icon for the app you have in mind. At this point, you can still talk over FaceTime, but you’ll no longer see the person. Tap the green bar at the top of the screen to bring the person back in front of you.

  • Toggle between the front and rear cameras on your iPhone 4S: Apple says the front camera has been fine-tuned for FaceTime usage, which in photography-speak means the camera has the proper field of view and focal length. But at times, you’ll want to use the iPhone’s main camera on the rear to best show off your surroundings and give the caller an idea of where you are. To toggle between the front and main cameras, tap the icon at the bottom-right corner of the screen.

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